We never know what Mother Nature may have in store for us. Last year, winter surprised us in Southern California. In February 2019, it snowed in Los Angeles, at Lake Elsinore and in the Elsinore Mountains, and it was so thick, it closed the I-5 Grapevine. Just in case Mother Nature decides to decorate our Southern California mountaintops with some snow, we want you to be prepared. Here are some tips for driving in the snow:
- Think smooth! In the snow, your tires aren’t gripping the road very well, and if you drive with jerky movements, you might find yourself in a tricky situation. Slow and steady will win the race.
- Think ahead! The key to staying safe is anticipation. The slippier the road gets, the more you need to think, look, and plan ahead. If you see an upcoming turn or stop, make sure to slow down and focus.
- Most of our vehicles will be equipped with a stability-control system. If your wheels are straying off the intended path, you will see a flashing warning light in the shape of a vehicle with squiggly lines. In case this happens to you, simply ease off the acceleration, and your vehicle will regain grip.
- Look to where you want to go! Keep your eyes focused on what is ahead.
- Skids can be scary, but they are fixable -- first, keep your foot away from the brakes. If you are dealing with a front-wheel skid (your front tires will lose grip and your will turn in a wide arc), ease off the acceleration, and your front tires will regain traction. Then aim and look where you want to go. You know you are dealing with a rear wheel skid when your rear wheels lose traction, and you feel your vehicle start to skid out. Simply turn the steering wheel in the same direction that the rear end of your vehicle is sliding. For instance, if your vehicle’s rear is swinging toward the left, turn your wheel toward the left. Then ease off the accelerator and the brakes. It doesn’t matter which type of skid you are experiencing, just keep your wheels pointed in the direction you want to be going. Gently use your brakes only if you think you can recover without hitting anything.
- If you need to stop your car quickly, and everything else has failed, turn to your vehicle’s anti-lock brake system. If you are skidding and feel like you might run into an obstacle, push down on your brake pedal, and don’t let up. Your anti-lock brake system will do the rest. Your car’s ABS system will adjust the braking force as you maneuver around obstacles -- you don’t need to slow down.
If you are planning to drive in a winter wonderland, also known as snow in California, bring your vehicle to Japanese Carmasters for an inspection. We will make sure your vehicle is ready to go. Schedule an appointment or contact Japanese Carmasters in San Diego at (856) 226-0054 for an inspection! We will make sure your vehicle is ready for the holidays. You’ll be glad you did.